Data Center

A Beginner’s Guide to Data Center Cooling Systems

 

Data center cooling is boring and so is oatmeal.  My doctor tells me that oatmeal will lower my cholesterol and save my heart, so sometimes boring is a good thing.

Cooling systems are often overlooked in the creation of the data center, but excess humidity and heat can cause damage to data center infrastructure.

It is important to understand the pros and cons between the different types of cooling systems. Here’s some cool information about DC AC that you can take to heart (I promise we are done with the puns).

Water Systems

Water-based cooling systems require an outdoor chiller and pump with indoor variable frequency devices, controls, CRAH units, and filter and leak detection.

Chillers
• Chillers are a pack with fins and fans. Fan blades are regularly lost and frequent repairs are needed.
• It’s necessary to ensure chillers don’t shut down in cold weather. With a lead and lag chiller, water must run constantly and special mechanisms must be in place. Cold climates require a glycol mix, which makes the system higher maintenance and more expensive.
• A failure within a single unit will result in cooling loss. A backup chiller is required for 2N redundancy.

Pump
With a chilled water loop, an outdoor pump is required to keep the water flowing. If this unit fails, you’ll lose cooling. A backup pump should be considered.

Variable Frequency Devices (VFD)
VFD are what control the speed of the pump. If you have multiple pumps, you’ll need multiple VFD.

Controls
Controls maintain the temperature of the chilled water loop. It will command the chiller on, control the orientation of valves, control the speed of VFD, monitor differential pressures, maintain status of temperature probes throughout the loop and monitor flow rate.

Filters
Chilled water loops require filtration. A sock is typically installed and must be maintained.

Leak Detection
Flowing water requires leak detection around joints and cooling units.

Gas Systems

Gas systems are similar to the cooling systems at your home. These are typically smaller units. Each indoor unit will correspond to an individual outdoor condenser unit. Because this is a gas system, freeze protection is less of a concern. These systems can be used for large deployments and will be less expensive than a chilled water system. The indoor cooling unit controls the operation of the outdoor condenser unit, which means less system intelligence is required. For small office data centers, this option will supplement your cooling as it is simpler to retrofit and is less expensive.

 

For more questions to ask when evaluating data centers
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Data Center

How to Build a Highly Available Network

 

There are multiple ways to build a highly available network. Let’s assume you require a 100% concurrently maintainable network, which ensures when any one connection is lost you can maintain network connectivity.

Internet Service Provider

If you maintain multiple connections that end users must access 24×7, you can achieve connectivity through DNS and BGP.

Adjust Domain Name Servers (DNS)

Consider what happens if you have two separate carriers providing diverse IP subnets and your end users are accessing them via DNS and your primary carrier fails? Your users will attempt to access unavailable services.

To avoid those situations, set the time-to-live on DNS entries to five minutes ahead of time, which will allow you to change the IP addressing. As the updated DNS propagates, it will allow your users to slowly adjust.

There are automated DNS services such as UltraDNS, which monitor external services, detect a failure and automatically adjust DNS entries. The advantage of an automated system is that it performs failover at any time and you can expect a failover of roughly 5 minutes.

 

For more information on network connectivity
<< Download our free Data Center Design Guide >>

 

Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)

BGP is a dynamic routing protocol that controls the flow of information on the Internet. BGP allows you to influence the flow of traffic both in and out of your network and is preferable to DNS management.

An Autonomous System Number (ASN) is assigned via a local registry. This ASN allows you to peer with upstream providers. You can advertise your registry-assigned IP addresses with your primary and secondary ISPs. If one ISPfails, the identical addresses are available via your secondary ISP.

Hardware

Multiple connections should be hosted on multiple routers to maintain connectivity should a single router fail. Border routers can then be connected to redundant firewalls. From the firewall, you should have connectivity into a pair of core switches for layer 2 aggregation.

Can you see the pattern? For max redundancy, host connectivity on multiple devices from beginning to end. Often this configuration can be collapsed where multiple functions are performed via a single piece of equipment. Your required uptime should be balanced with cost.

Culture   Data Center

6 Reasons We’re Addicted to Customer Service

Houston, Data Center, Customer Service

Customer service is the #1 priority of almost any business, short of making profit, because that’s what keeps business going. The good-ole’ saying The customer is always right reminds us to hold customer satisfaction to the highest degree. Here are 6 ways we create raving fans and why we’re addicted to customer service.

#1 – Response Time

At FIBERTOWN, we ensure our employees deliver the highest standard of customer service by implementing a quick response time of 15 minutes. This response window applies to calls, emails or carrier pigeon. (Heavy delays may occur if using pigeons and is not recommended).  Our qualified technicians promptly respond and begin working on requests immediately.  This includes simple reboots, power ons and conference calls to troubleshoot issues remotely.

#2 – Choosing your Customer Service

In any market with multiple providers, customer service is seen as a key differentiator. Businesses that succeed in a cut-throat world are typically customer service-oriented and make this part of their business strategy.

Imagine two businesses that offer the same product, for the same prices and have similar distances to you.

  • What makes you choose one instead of the other?
  • Would a raving review about one of them affect your decision?
  • How about outstanding praise from the employees about the business or products?
  • How many times have you asked an employee about what they think about their level of customer service?

At FIBERTOWN, we have taken this to a whole new level, embedding our core values with customer-based proficiencies to provide the best service and satisfaction.  We are always open to ideas and feedback from our customers.

#3 – Always Available Satisfaction

At FIBERTOWN, we are accessible to our customers 24×7. We aim to be an extension of your team and involved every step of the way. We want customers to be familiar with each member of our team, from executives to night-shift technicians.

#4– Feedback is Always Positive

Customer feedback improves how we do business. We want to better serve you by hearing both positive and negative feedback. If you’re frustrated by a lengthy device manual and you can’t find what you’re looking for, I urge you to employ the assistance of our staff. We work hard to create raving fans through superior customer service.

#5– One-on-One Attention

You may have noticed our LIVE CHAT on the website.  We are here to address questions, concerns or even chat if you’re feeling lonely.  Sales, marketing, management, networking and customer service are all available on the live chat.

#6 – Expectations

At FIBERTOWN, we set clear and consistent expectations. Each member works to improve customer service by keeping up the PACE. We are passionate about what we do. Each member of the team is accountable for their own actions. We deliver creative and personalized solutions to customer issues, while working each day to achieve excellence. 

Culture   Data Center

The Story of a Data Center Super Hero

ESG-IT-Superhero-graphic

Since the inception of the high tech career, responsible IT professionals have struggled to maintain a normal work schedule knowing they could be called into action at any moment of the day or night.

For some, it feels like the life of super hero, always on-call for a shot at glory.

For others, it’s more like the life of a firefighter, waiting for the next fire to start hoping it doesn’t get you burned…or fired.

Imagine a bedtime scenario for an IT professional:

We see them getting in bed, still slightly wired from the numerous cups of coffee consumed while pouring through technical manuals that day troubleshooting an issue. An issue eventually resolved with the magical reboot of an end user device.

They climb into bed and fumble for their cell phone charger with the thought must be connected at all times. Then they confirm volume is set to max so as to wake the dead.

They anxiously drift off and a ding brings them surging back to life to check that “Patch Tuesday” has not claimed another victim.

“Ugh, it’s just that sales guy from the west coast. No chance I’m buying from you now, buddy. That’s what you get for spamming me at 11pm.”

They are wired with a hair trigger to respond at a moment’s notice. They know how fast they can get to the office at 3:27 am because they’ve done it once, or twice, that time they neglected to turn off auto updates on the old BES server, seriously when is that executive going to upgrade and use the exchange like everyone else?

Every department has similar aggravations. The finance group gets antsy when the quarterly reports are due. The accounting team dreads the beginning and end of every month, year and tax cycle. The marketing department bites its nails as the email campaign they’ve been pouring over finally launches. The goal is to minimize these hardships where we can.

For an IT guy, handing off this after-hours accountability is the best course of action.

What does that mean? Am I going to have to hire after-hours staff, then train them and provide management for them? Oh, what happens if they’re sick?

Monitoring-as-a-service allows for a third party to provide monitoring and escalation for you. Your service provider manages the staff and involves multiple individuals to interact in an emergency situation, so your IT team can sleep at night. They make your IT department of three: systems administrator, network administrator and IT manager become a 24×7 beacon of reliability.

How can I trust anyone with overseeing my critical infrastructure? They won’t possibly have the commitment my team will. What good does this unaffiliated third party do? We still have to wake up and drive to the office 3 am!

Your critical hardware is housed in a data center where a 24×7 staff that you trust and turn to keeps a careful watch over your infrastructure. When was the last time you called your data center for a server reboot? How long did it take? You should expect 15 minutes from the time the request hits their inbox to completion.

At FIBERTOWN, we are an extension of your IT team and involved every step of the way. You know each one of us from top to bottom because we are accountable to our customers 100% of the time. Our team is stacked with firefighters and super heroes. Ready to act at moment’s notice.